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Discovering Design With Biology

Biology textbook cover

Dr. Wile has joined with Dr. Paul Madtes, university biology professor and lead author of the text, to bring you the latest in our science courses: Discovering Design with Biology.

As he explains in this blog post, Dr. Wile observed the original and second edition of the book Exploring Creation With Biology needed a refresh, but circumstances arranged themselves to allow for Dr. Wile and Dr. Madtes to write a completely new biology text that is lab-based and prepares your student for college level biology.

Like Discovering Design With Earth Science, Discovering Design With Biology gives glory to the One who created it all.

And because the lead author is a biologist, the book “builds biology from the ground up” beginning with  molecules and cells and progressing through to animals, plants, and the ecosystems and biomes they inhabit.

You will find beautiful full-color images, easy-to-understand explanations, and user-friendly experiments in every chapter. The experiments are designed specifically to increase understanding of the biological concepts in the text.

Some of the experiments require particular items available in the optional lab kit. Follow this link for a list of materials included in the kit for the lab experiments, as well as the items you’ll need to provide.

Table of contents list

Scope and sequence

Let’s explore the chapters and the science contained inside.


The introduction contains a thorough explanation of how to get the most out of your Discovering Design with Biology book, experiments, and worksheets and how to incorporate science study in your homeschool schedule.

It covers the importance of including hands-on learning through experimentation. It also stresses the need to keep up with notes and record the results of experiments performed.

We want to make sure your student has access to as much support as needed. Dr. Wile is available to answer questions through a dedicated website for students that also contains searchable questions and answers.

Chapter 1  Introduction to Biology


Chapter 1 explains the layout of the units in the book then dives into the basic definition of life. Each section further explains the characteristics living organisms have and how biologists organize these features, including how they come up with the names of organisms. Your student will get a review of the scientific method and how to conduct experiments, plus discover how energy flows through the living world. Finally, the chapter discusses natural selection’s role in biological adaptation.

Chapter 2 The Chemistry of Life


This chapter explores the chemical building blocks of life from atoms to compounds and how these chemicals are arranged in living organisms. There is a section devoted to water and its characteristics, and the chapter introduces groups of molecules and their functions necessary for life.

Chapter 3 Cells

drawing of a cell

Building on the previous information, this chapter explains the complexity of cells and how they are made up of complex molecules and biomachines. It investigates the multitude of cell types and their functions in living things including energy exchange, protection, and osmosis, all pointing to an intricate design that allows cells to function properly.

Chapter 4 Cell Division

drawing of cell division

Once your student understands cells, they are ready to explore how cells divide and reproduce. This chapter takes them through the cell cycle and discusses the differences between animal and plant cells. It also discusses chromosomes and the human life cycle. There’s even a section on AI and the difficulties robots would face trying to replicate themselves.

Chapter 5 Genetics

drawing of DNA

This chapter breaks down genetics and how traits are passed down from parent to offspring beginning with the simple experiments of Gregor Mendel and working through nature vs. nurture. Your student will discover how each can affect the outcomes of reproduction including mutations and other genetic abnormalities.

Chapter 6 Biotechnology


Our bodies and all living creatures have systems in place to protect from biological invaders such as viruses by destroying important parts of the molecules. Science has created technology that they use to take apart and reconstruct biological molecules to engineer compounds and processes that can keep us healthy. Some topics include insulin, cancer treatments, and gene therapy, plus the bioethics of this technology.

Chapter 7 Microbiology – Archaea and Bacteria


Now the course dives into the world of microbes and investigates their hidden world via a microscope. Your student will get to culture some bacteria in an experiment, then go on to explore organisms that live in extreme environments as well as those microbes that can make us sick.

Chapter 8 Microbiology – Protists and Fungi


This chapter introduces your student to the “miscellaneous” section of living organisms and explain why they are so difficult to categorize. It also explores different types of protists and fungi and explains their characteristics, such as amoeba, plankton, algae, yeast, mold, and mushrooms. It finishes up with symbiosis in the fungal world as well as diseases caused by fungi.

Chapter 9 Invertebrates

dragonfly on leaf

Time to move on to organisms without backbones and get a brief overview of their characteristics: corals, jellyfish, worms, starfish, snails, shellfish, and insects. This chapter covers the biological makeup of these creatures and their likely habitats, then gives your student a chance to dissect a crayfish.

Chapter 10 Vertebrates: Fish and Amphibians



The next group of animals the course explores includes fish, frogs, toads, and salamanders, plus takes a look at their habitats, eating habits, and reproductive cycles. It also considers the evolutionary model that suggests fish evolved into amphibians and why this may not be possible.

Chapter 11 Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals


Now the course investigates the vertebrate groups of the snakes, lizards, turtles, dinosaurs, all kinds of birds, and mammals from mice to whales, plus the characteristics of each, and the varied environments they inhabit. The chapter also covers reproductive cycles including hatching eggs, pouch-dwelling offspring, and placental mammals and investigates the problems with the evolutionary theory of dinosaurs becoming modern birds.

Chapter 12 Primates and Humans

drawing of the respiratory system in a human

Finally, this chapter covers the last of the animal classes, primates. It discusses the characteristics of apes, monkeys, chimpanzees, and gorillas. And while humans are indeed considered primates, they are described separately. The chapter breaks down the major systems of the human body and discusses the importance of each and ends with a discussion of what it means to be created in the image of God.

Chapter 13 Plants – Anatomy and Classification

close up of leave with water droplets

The course moves from animals to plants in this chapter and describes their cellular and tissue structure of leaves, stems, roots, and flowers, and how plants are classified. It also explores the varied ways plants reproduce themselves.

Chapter 14 Plants – Physiology

plant with snail

Once your student understands the structure of plants, they’re ready to learn how plants behave. From photosynthesis to pollination to germination and growth, this chapter reveals the physiology of plants throughout the days and seasons. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how some countries have bestowed certain legal rights to flora under their control, and why this does not align with biblical teachings.

Chapter 15 Environmental Science

weather system

Now that the course has covered the living creatures in our world, it moves on to discuss how the physical world impacts the organisms in it and vice versa. It covers the ecological pyramid and explores how energy flows from one group to another. Next up, the text covers global biological cycles that stem from weather and the cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous around the globe. It also discusses climate, soil, and biodiversity, which contribute to the availability (or not) of important natural resources, and the various stresses and threats to nature.

Chapter 16 Ecosystems

lake ecosystem

Finally, the course takes all the separate parts it presented in the previous chapters and blends them to help your student understand how living organisms interact with their surroundings in different biomes. As species live either independently, cooperatively, or competitively, they thrive or decline according to the resources in their ecosystem. The chapter refers back to concepts presented to tie all the biological information together.

Lab-Based Biology

plants in petri dishes

There are a total of total of 38 experiments that require roughly 40 hours of laboratory work. Of those experiments, 17 use household items. These include extracting DNA from fruit, determining the effects of temperature and pH on proteins, exploring reflexes, and exploring the effect of surface area on diffusion.

There are 14 experiments that use a microscope kit, including identifying different stages of mitosis, examining bacteria cultures, studying blood, and studying invertebrates. The other 7 experiments use a dissection kit and include the earthworm, crayfish, fish, and frog. See the complete lab supplies list here.

Get Started with Discovering Design With Biology

In addition to solid science and thought-provoking questions, this set includes printable Worksheets as well as a Student Notebook for exploring questions and keeping track of chapter review answers.

If this looks like the perfect biology book for your student, take a look at Discovering Design With Biology today.

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Why We Teach The Sciences In A Specific Order

Remember when you were in high school? You probably took science in this order: Biology, Chemistry, Physics.

What is the reason for this sequence? To keep the subjects in alphabetical order?

Far from it.

The study of each of these sciences requires a certain level of understanding in mathematics for each. This discourages lower grades from leaping right into physics.

But What About Conceptual Physics For Lower Grades?

Some educational institutions have attempted to circumvent this by offering something called conceptual physics in lower grades.

And while it may offer a basic grasp of physics concepts, conceptual physics does not lead to a deep understanding of the science behind the equations.

Math-based physics is a superior approach in order for students to have an appreciation for the operations they are performing to demonstrate a physical concept.

A statement attributed to prominent physicist Ernest Rutherford is,

“All science is either physics or stamp collecting.”

In other words, we must understand the processes of biology, chemistry, and the other sciences through the lens of physics, or we’re simply gathering disconnected facts.

Physics, Or Natural Philosophy, Is The Basis For All The Sciences

Early scientists were all physicists. At the time, physics was called natural philosophy and focused on understanding the laws of the universe.

Speaking broadly, physics is the basis of everything, and to comprehend this broad natural philosophy, scientists needed to understand math.

Galileo stated it best when he said,

“Philosophy is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes — I mean the universe — but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols, in which it is written.

This book is written in the mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.”

And to comprehend physics, students must have a firm grasp of trigonometry.

We Teach High School Science Backwards

So, we teach high school science “backwards”.

  • Our courses begin with biology, which only requires basic math skills.
  • Then we offer chemistry, which needs an understanding of algebra to grasp.
  • And finally, we dive into physics after the student has moved through geometry and trigonometry.

Alphabetical order, maybe, but for a very concrete reason.

If we were to begin with the hardest subject, even though it’s the basis for all science, we’d turn some students off, as they would struggle without strong math skills.

In short, no trig, no physics.

The Importance Of Keeping Students Engaged In Science Courses

Even students who don’t naturally gravitate toward the sciences are more likely to stick with science courses if they start with the easier math-based subjects before they move on to physics.

And it turns out, students who have taken trig-based physics (versus conceptual physics) in high school do better at university with a calculus-based course.

As you’re looking through our course sequence, you’ll notice we have math prerequisites listed for each.

Once your student has mastered the specific math levels, you can confidently approach that science for the year.

Not Ready For Higher Level Sciences? No Problem

But what if your student isn’t mathematically ready for the next subject?

You can fill in their science requirements with any one of the other basic courses we have available while you wait for their math skills to catch up.

Give your student the best chance at learning and appreciating science by following our course schedule to offer the appropriate subject based on the level of math they have mastered.